Today, Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) reintroduced the bipartisan Performing Artists Tax Parity Act (PATPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation provides a necessary update to the Qualified Performing Artist (QPA) tax deduction, correcting an unintended consequence of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act that drastically increased taxes for middle class creative professionals.
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated Unreimbursed Employee Expenses as a tax deduction, which meant W-2 workers lost the ability to deduct expenses incurred while on the job. IATSE members such as cinematographers, wardrobe attendants, and make-up artists must now shoulder the cost of the camera equipment, costume alteration tools, and cosmetic supplies necessary to do their jobs. Every year, creative professionals can spend 20 to 30 percent of their income on necessary expenses to secure and maintain employment.
Upon the PATPA’s reintroduction, IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb stated, “This is an excellent example of Congress putting aside partisanship to right a wrong that affects thousands of middle class behind-the-scenes entertainment workers and creative professionals. This unnecessary tax hike has been hurting our members long before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down our work and wiped out our wages. Now, with a full return to work in sight, Congress should pass this bill, restore tax fairness, and ensure our workers come back stronger than before.”
Eligibility for the QPA deduction has remained unchanged since it was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986 and limits the adjusted gross income of the taxpayer to $16,000. The PATPA would raise the ceiling of QPA eligibility to $100,000 for single taxpayers and $200,000 for couples filing jointly, with a built-in phase out to help transition the taxpayer out of the deduction. If passed, middle-class behind-the scenes entertainment workers would once again be able to deduct expenses incurred in the course of their employment.
The IATSE thanks Representatives Chu and Buchanan for reintroducing the Performing Artists Tax Parity Act and we urge all members of the House and Senate to support the swift passage of this critical legislation.